During Pakistan's tour of England last summer, he met Woolmer in Canterbury for a short chat, that mushroomed into a 2-hour discussion of cricket and life."He was so good at the intimate details of the game," Marks says.And though four Scotland Yard detectives and an Interpol pathologist and the Pakistani detective who headed up the Daniel Pearl case are now on hand to jump-start a whodunit unfolding at the rate of a melting glacier, only one thing seems clear: If Woolmer had been something other than a cricket coach worked as a BASE jumper, perhaps he probably would still be breathing. John's to the stadium, where Pepsi billboards proclaiming We Love West Indies Cricket only featuring India star Sachin Tendulkar share space with handmade signs promoting a local "Gals Garn Wild" show taking place right after the game!
Woolmer's friends and family insist that he knew nothing, that his forthcoming books one a coaching manual, the other autobiographical contain no bombshells. Bell wasn't expected to play against Woolmer's Pakistan squad, so the coach told his former pupil about the problem.
Injuries subsequently forced Bell into the English lineup. "That's the kind of man Bob was," says Vic Marks, a former English national team player and a cricket writer with the British newspaper the Observer. In South Africa, he was in the same locker room as Cronje, and he was as stunned by everything as everyone else. Otherwise, you start to get conspiratorial." Marks played against Woolmer in English cricket; as a journalist, he came to know the man behind the competitor.
Or silenced like former South African captain Hansie Cronje, cricket's fallen angel, the God-fearing, born-again Christian who took money from bookmakers, confessed to a judge, earned a lifetime ban, triggered an ocean-spanning slew of scandals and investigations and died in a mysterious 2002 plane crash. Let him open his laptop, e-mail his wife, Gill, around 3 a.m., vent his depression and disbelief at the Ireland loss. Dubai bookmakers took in a reported $25 million on a World Cup match between India and Sri Lanka, and some experts estimate that as much as $1 billion can be bet globally on a single game.
And even if he didn't know, he could've known, and if you step back and do the math, the mere possibility is more than enough. Silenced like Hanif "Cadbury" Kodvavi, once Pakistan's top bookie, linked to disgraced cricket star Salim Malik, found dead in Johannesburg in 1999, reportedly shot 67 times and, for good measure, hacked into pieces. Sip some tea at the Pegasus cafe, right next to the hotel lobby. Let Woolmer head upstairs, order room service, a last meal of lasagna. "That guy," Kutty says, "he's betting in England right now." Three things to know about cricket gambling: first, it's huge.
"We all have a gut feeling fixing goes on," Miller says.
"Trying to stamp it out is like trying to stamp out breathing.I can almost understand." Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and assistant coach Mushtaq Ahmed were both fined as a result of the same match-fixing investigation that brought down Malik. "Not to speak ill of the dead I knew Bob and he was a very nice man but he must have known more," he says. Unless his love of cricket left him blind to the sport's larger sins.West Indies star Marlon Samuels was allowed to play in the World Cup despite links to an Indian bookmaker. True story: When the English national team toured Pakistan in 2005, Woolmer noticed that a player he once coached in English domestic cricket, Ian Bell, had a small flaw in his batting grip. An unhurried sporting pursuit in which the escapist pleasure lasts not 90 minutes or two halves or four quarters, but for days and days of blissful remove called a Test match, which really seems to be a test of one's socio-economic ability to take an extended intercontinental vacation. James once wrote, "The British tradition soaked deep into me was that when you entered the sporting arena, you left behind you the sordid compromises of everyday existence." Cricket. Only here is Woolmer's body, stashed in the basement of a Kingston funeral home for weeks, awaiting repatriation to his wife and two sons in South Africa a process delayed by both a postponed coroner's inquest and one of the largest and most complex investigations in the history of Jamaican law enforcement, an investigation waiting on the results of toxicology tests that have yet to be completed. Distraught, inconsolable, enraged that Pakistan has just crashed out of the tournament by losing to Ireland the international cricket equivalent, I'm told, of the Seattle Seahawks falling to a slightly above-average high school football team and in the mood for vengeance. 4 in the world has just laid an egg the size of Humpty Dumpty, losing to an Irish side largely composed of part-time players. See Woolmer head upstairs, early, around , leaving behind the self-described worst day of his coaching career, apparently making good on a postgame news conference promise to sleep on his future as Pakistan's skipper. Swarnakar wanted to watch the India-Sri Lanki match on a neighbor's color television; his wife wanted him to watch at home, on a black-and-white set. Here's the truly batty part: Nobody I meet finds any of the above disturbing. They don't even find it ironic, never mind that the official World Cup theme song is titled "The Game of Love and Unity." Woolmer's murder? Fitzgerald was surprisingly candid, in a way that only someone who won't discuss specifics can be. The sport's nouveau riche reality is visible on the sponsor signs ringing the Viv Richards Stadium outfield: Visa, LG, Johnnie Walker.But the mystery surrounding him isn't going anywhere. One that compelled me to catch a flight to Antigua, and then Jamaica, in order to poke my nose into a strange and unfamiliar world. It even pops up along the narrow, winding island road that leads from downtown St.Think about it: you're only a sportsman for 10 years.